The Dirty Little Secret: Uncovering the Truth Behind Pornby Craig Gross
The Dirty Little Secret follows Pastor Craig Gross as he breaks the silence and begins his ministry XXXchurch.com, a
Addiction to pornography has exploded to epidemic proportions, infiltrating churches and holding our pastors, friends, and family members prisoner. But no onenot even the churchis talking about this dangerous and destructive addiction.
The Dirty Little Secret follows Pastor Craig Gross as he breaks the silence and begins his ministry XXXchurch.com, a website devoted to fighting pornography. As he meets people in the industry and those addicted to porn, Craig exposes the very real, human face of pornography and the destructive physical, emotional, and spiritual toll it takes. The Dirty Little Secret plainly reveals the addictive lure of pornography, explores the pain and brokenness it causes, and challenges us as individuals and as the church to talk about and openly fight pornography. Don’t be tempted to keep this secret any longer.
If this book won't make you roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty, then you need to check your pulse.
Skip Mathews, president, Integrity Online
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Read an Excerpt
CHAPTER 1: THE PORN PASTOR
It was a stupid thing to do, but I did it anyway. I turned my car into the 'Porn Mobile.' I painted my website domain XXXchurch.
com and the slogan '#1 Christian
Porn Site' all over my black
Scion XB in big, bold-faced letters. On the passenger door is the wording 'A porn site for the whole family.' The car is unavoidable.
I drive it on the freeway and roads where I live in Riverside County,
California, garnering stares from just about everybody. The words cover the entire car, running from the driver side door all the way to the back. At the time, I was excited. The design schematic and graphics were high quality, and I was so excited that I called all my friends and drove my new ride to their houses to show it off. This is the car I had been driving to buy groceries for my family and to visit friends. Now I think back to my rash decision and smile.
Would I do it again? Probably.
I first realized something was wrong when the driver of the car next to me threw his milk shake onto my windshield. A thirtytwo ounce soda came the following week. People either gave me a thumbs-up or the bird. How could a simple gesture such as putting the word porn on the outside of a car generate such a big response?
I can't drive anywhere without somebody running up to me and asking what the car is about, or telling me how they have struggled with porn. Azusa Pacific, a Christian university, almost had the car towed from their parking lot. Even my wife doesn't want the car parked in our driveway, so I keep it covered.
Last month, I lent the car to my friend Dave because his broke down. In that month, a Christian driver waved a Bible at him from the road and visibly prayed for his soul. His best friend, an artist,
hid behind his sculpture in town because Dave waved to him from the Porn Mobile. Dave's wife wouldn't drive it at all. He had even been threatened by the police with a misdemeanor for taking pictures of the car for our website.
Later, I realized that I had turned my car into a hot-button issue. What I have learned from driving around a car with the word porn all over it is that people don't want to talk about this issue. The word makes people nervous, afraid, uncomfortable,
Here's an experiment: Say the word porn at a dinner party sometime and see what happens. Depending on what kind of dinner party you're at, you are more than likely to be confronted with blank stares, nervous twitching of hands, sweating brows, and anxious laughter. Some might spill their drinks and others will leap through flaming hoops to be first to change the subject. For the rest of the night, they'll avoid you and probably won't invite you back to the next gathering. Four years ago, I would have had the exact same reaction. Being a pastor doesn't change any of this;
I would have avoided that trip to the porn gutter at all costs. This was my subconscious attempt to pass over the issue as if it didn't exist. To me, porn was a dark world inhabited by lost sinners selling their bodies and souls over to a flesh-driven abomination.
Try telling this to me now, four years into my strange and remarkable journey with the XXXchurch. In fact, the very word that makes people fidget or sweat has become part of my title.
Media sources like CNN, The 700 Club, and The Daily Show have dubbed my partner, Mike Foster, and I the 'porn pastors.' We are the creators of the XXXchurch, a ministry that confronts porn on two levels --- that of the church and that of the porn industry. The seedy and the sacred --- a hybrid of the world we represent and the world we inhabit, despite the misgivings of many Christians and the animosity of those in the porn business.
So what am I? A pastor? A pornographer? You might not believe it, but Mike and I are ordained ministers. We can do weddings and funerals and have the certificates to prove it. You wouldn't know it by looking at me. At age twenty-nine, I still dress as if
I belong at the skate park. I'm a generation gap, black earrings,
cargo pants, youth culture, long hair, SoCal, skate shoes kind of guy. You could say your average grandmother wouldn't approve,
though mine does.
I am married with two kids and live in a suburban house. My son is two years old, and I have a newborn baby girl. My wife has gotten used to some of the people
I surround myself with and work with, but I don't think she'll ever get used to the car.
Strange that I find my calling is to battle porn. Why should we even battle it? If you watch or read a lot of Christian material on the subject, you'll hear 'Just don't do it!' As if becoming a Christian suddenly erases a man's or woman's drive to look at porn. Then there is the Christian notion that porn is a pastime of only the sinful and wicked. Pornographers and porn consumers fit somewhere between liberals and homosexuals on the scale of
Christian good and evil. What about the stripper who needs to support her children? What about the pastor who has a secret addiction to porn? What about the pornographer who wishes he could erase some of what he has seen and done because it haunts him at night? The issue is a little more complicated than good and evil, black and white. The human being is a hazardous jumble of wires, not the strong cables we like to think of ourselves as.
I didn't always see everybody as so complex, and I'll admit,
sometimes I still don't. Sometimes I look at someone in this business or the Christian world and think, 'I'm right; you're wrong.'
Or, 'I'm better than you. How can you live with yourself?' This is my natural tendency, but I'm getting better at catching myself.
Meet the Author
Craig Gross founded Fireproof Ministries and XXXchurch.com and is the author of several books, including The Dirty Little Secret and Questions You Can't Ask Your Mama about Sex. He currently lives in Pasadena with his wife, Jeanette, and two kids, Nolan and Elise.
Carter Krummrich has a degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. He has interned and worked for several periodicals and lives in Southern California.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Craig Gross's book, "The Dirty Little Secret", is a Godsend, literally and figuratively speaking, for any who are at a point to understand that they have a problem with pornography. I read this book from two different aspects, and want to discuss the book from both aspects. The first aspect is from a Christian who has had issues with pornography in the past. The second aspect is from a high school youth group leader looking to discuss the topic of pornography next year during one of the meetings. Having once had an issue with pornography, the subject matter in this book cut deep with me. Gross writes about the harm of the porn industry in a matter-of-fact way, which cuts through all the stereotypes of the industry and its workers and shows how horrible the world on the inside can be. Don't get me wrong, this book is very one-sided and focuses on the worst case scenarios to emphasize Gross's point. However, this book is meant to be focused at those who know, at least to some degree, that they have a problem with porn. For such a person, this is the dousing of cold water that these people need to understand that, even when it seems like there are no victims, there are. Gross pushes you right into the middle of the porn industry without making you "get down and dirty" with the subject matter. The other reason I bought this book was to see how much information I could get for my church's high school youth group, who will be talking about this subject at some point next year. This book talks about pornography in a way that helps growing Christians, as well as those who are seeking something better, to understand that there is nothing good about pornography. Do I think that this book will change a 14-year-old's perspective on porn? No. But do I think it will, at least, make him think twice before the next time he looks porn up on his computer? Yes. This is the key. I recommend this book to other high school youth group leaders for their groups as well. Gross is right about one thing...nobody wants to talk about porn. We just push it under the rug and try to ignore it. Bringing it into the light exposes porn for what it is...sinful. Gross talks about Porn Sunday, and even though I don't think my church would go quite to the extend of having a Porn Sunday, I think our youth group needs to talk about it. Overall, I really appreciated what Gross was trying to do in this book. The book was a very fast read, the individual stories were powerful, and the moral was more than clear. I recommend this book to all Christians, to help get the word out, instead of hiding it like we all want to do. I also recommend this book to anyone who has ever felt the allure of porn, and wants to get away from it.
This book is great for reading inside a box, a spectacular book for every 'Christian' who feels that God bequeathed to America the moral responsibility to erect walls around one frightfully heteronormative set of sexual and social prescriptions. Privileging a simply unreal masculine sexuality that subordinates women quite as well as the worst ¿pornography,¿ Craig Gross, despite what I presume are his best intentions, has written a book that will teach your church¿s youth group that sex is little more than the devil¿s gateway, AIDS, and HPV. Women who don¿t subscribe to Gross¿s rigid sexual mores are dismissed as those of the ¿feminist bent,¿ and men are rewarded with the affirmation that they still hold the keys to what is right and wrong in the bedroom. The mere fact that the author fails to qualify and differentiate between ¿porn¿ and ¿erotica¿ suggests that a work like this is nothing short of scholastically and socially irresponsible. Written to the ¿lost¿ and the ¿diseased,¿ this reading of sex and American culture offers nothing but stigma. Perhaps Gross might feel inspired by his ministry to write a sequel with a little more research - one with a carefully considered deployment of hazardous terminology, one that looks at real sex problems like the trafficking of sex workers and the hegemony of abstinence-only education in schools and churches. Please read this book with a grain of salt, and please don¿t let this book inform your child¿s ideas on sex.
Pastor Craig Gross follows in the footsteps of Jesus to rescue the lost souls of the sex industry and those addicted to its product. He went to porn conventions and developed friendships with pornographers and came back with this book. I recommend it. He's careful with his facts and clear with his values. I know most of the porn people Craig writes about. He's captured them and their dilemmas accurately. This is a rare book that examines the effects of porn on the soul (and on the lives of real porn stars and consumers) and it offers a way for people to be born again. Luke Ford
The strength of Dirty Little Secret is the moving behind-the-scenes stories it contains, many tragic and others ultimately triumphant. It strips the glamour away and perfectly captures the horror that the porn industry inflicts on its own. For example, I'll never forget the mental image of a porn 'actress' curled up in the fetal position, sucking her thumb in anguish at the end of a video shoot. This book is a must read for anyone interested in the porn industry and also for everyone concerned about the sexualization of our society.
I had no idea that the problem with porn was so huge. I got an advance release of this book and it will blow your mind. The greatest part of the book is that Craig is not making this stuff up, these are all true accounts of what he has seen and the people that he has met. I don't care if you struggle with porn or not, this book is a must for anyone living in the year 2006.